Europe’s Plans to Visit the Moon in 2018

The European Space Agency is aiming for the Moon with their Lunar Lander mission, anticipated to arrive on the lunar surface in 2018. Although ESA successfully put a lander on Titan with the Huygens probe in 2005, this will be the first European spacecraft to visit the surface of Earth’s Moon.

Although Lunar Lander will be an unmanned robotic explorer, the mission will be a forerunner to future human exploration of the Moon as well as Mars. Lunar Lander will use advanced technologies for autonomous landing and will be able to determine the best location for touchdown on its own, utilizing lasers to avoid obstacles on the Moon’s surface.

With no GPS on the Moon, Lunar Lander will navigate by digitally imaging the surface on the fly. Landing will be accomplished via thrusters, which were successfully tested earlier this year at a test chamber in Germany.

Lunar Lander’s destination will be the Moon’s south pole, where no exploration missions have ever landed. Once on the lunar surface, the Lander will investigate Moon dust using a robotic arm and a suite of onboard diagnostic instruments, sending data and images back to scientists on Earth for further study.

Watch a video of the Lunar Lander mission below, from launch to landing.

Read more about Lunar Lander on the ESA site here.

Images and video: ESA

Jason Major

A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!

Recent Posts

Webb Measures the Weather on a Tidally Locked Exoplanet

Exploring exoplanet atmospheres in more detail was one task that planetary scientists anticipated during the…

6 hours ago

More Than Half of Near Earth Objects Could Be “Dark Comets”

Next time you're visiting the seaside or a large lake, or even sipping a frosty…

14 hours ago

New Images From Webb Reveal Jupiter's Complex Atmosphere

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has accomplished some spectacular feats since it began operations…

16 hours ago

Pulsars are the Ideal Probes for Dark Matter

Pulsars are the remnants of the explosion of massive stars at the end of their…

17 hours ago

Webb Maps the Weather on the Closest Brown Dwarfs to Earth

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has done it again. A team of astronomers have used…

18 hours ago

Astronauts Struggle To Eat Their Space Food and Scientists Want to Know Why

Astronauts sometimes struggle to consume enough nutritious food on the ISS because it tastes bland.…

19 hours ago